Bartlett Dining Commons LED Lighting Retrofit Project

The University of Chicago is a proud ENERGY STAR Partner, working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and our peer institutions to find ways to reduce higher education campus energy usage.  The goal of this program is threefold: (1) reducing our impact on the environment as our energy usage is about 75% of our total carbon footprint; (2) reducing our operating cost to free up funding for other campus maintenance needs; and (3) enabling our talented technicians to perform more critical tasks on a large and complex campus portfolio.

As part of this initiative, Facilities Services installed over 570 LED retrofits in the Bartlett Dining Commons that reduced lighting energy use by over 50%, improved color resolution and light levels and reduced failure rates resulting in long-term operational and maintenance cost savings to the University.  Installation of new LED lamps increased the rated life from 30,000 hours for T8 florescent fixtures to 100,000 hours, reducing future service disruptions to the building’s occupants.  Additionally, new lighting fixtures in the kitchen areas addressed low light levels and improved food preparation safety.

Replacement of lights in the dining area often requires a lift. Installing LED fixtures rated for 100,000-hours reduces the operations and maintenance costs of maintaining light fixtures.

The project started in 2018 when Campus Student Life approached Facilities Services with a desire to improve light levels and light quality within the Bartlett Dining Commons for students and employees.  Adam D’Ambrosio, senior director of Energy Services and Sustainability, worked with Dr. Christopher Toote, executive director of UChicago Dining, and Jen Kennedy, director of the Office of Student Centers, to develop a lighting solution that met requirements to improve lighting levels in dining, food preparation, and student activity spaces. 

Metered electricity demand data from both before (orange) and after (blue) the lighting retrofit over the course of a day confirms the expected electricity savings.

As a result of this project, electricity consumption was reduced by over 123,000 kilowatt-hours resulting in a reduction of 70 metric tons of equivalent carbon dioxide. The LED lamps will last three times longer resulting in less labor and cost to replace burned-out lamps.  More than 300 energy efficiency measures have been completed in the University of Chicago campus buildings since 2009, and buildings will continue to be the primary target of our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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